Ibn Jarir reported that the condition of the Israelites deteriorated. They committed many sins and killed whom they wished of the prophets. Consequently Allah sent them tyrannous kings who ill-treated them and spilled their blood, and set their enemies from outside against them as well. They used to go to war, taking with them The Ark of the Covenant. They did this so that they would be victorious by its blessing, and it became a symbol of calm and a relic left behind by Moses's people. When they went to war with the people of Gaza and Askalon, they were defeated because the Ark of the Covenant was captured from them. When the king of the Israelites heard of this he died on the spot.
The children of Israel remained like sheep without a shepherd until Almighty Allah sent them a prophet named Samuel (Shammil) . They asked him to appoint a king over them to lead them in a war against their enemies.
The Ark of the Covenant
According to Ibn Asaker, the Israelites believed their Ark of the Covenant to be very holy and an important symbol of their history. They carried the Ark even in battle and believed that, because of it, Allah would protect them from their enemies. This belief gave them peace of mind and great courage, and their enemies were terrified by it. Their enemies also believed that it was given special power by Allah. Gradually the Israelites started to ignore Allah's law; evil habits became part of their lives. Allah sent upon them an enemy, the Philistines, who defeated the Israelites, captured their Ark, drove them out of their homes, and took away their children to use or sell as slaves. Their power was broken. They separated from one another and were very disheartened.